By Stephanie Trimmer, Professional Grounds, Inc.

There are so many live tree options for holiday decorating that I thought a simple ‘ Christmas Tree Guide ’ was in order. If you have a tree during the holidays, then you know that tree is the center of all home holiday decor. Those green beauties also extend their presence into our centerpieces, door hangings, mantle displays, etc. So which tree is right for you? For time’s sake, Im going to focus specifically on the three most common Fir tree varieties, since they are considered to be the typical selection most widely available through retailers. 

Frasier Fir: Frasiers are the most popular Christmas tree variety in the mid-Atlantic region. They have a beautiful bluish-green color with semi-soft needles, fairly strong branches, and a fresh, spicy scent. Frasiers are known for retaining their needles longer than some of the other fir varieties so they keep up their appearance well into the New Year (as long as they are watered properly).  Cost: A tree with these appealing qualities may cost you a bit more, sometimes up to twice as much as some of their less hardy counterparts.

Noble Fir: Noble Firs are a close second in popularity.  Their needles are more stiff, well-retained and deep green in color. This specific fir has a lighter, more subtle fragrance. The tree itself is dense with foliage but the branches sometimes don’t support heftier ornaments so consider your ornament collection when choosing this variety. If you have smaller or lighter ornaments the Noble is a fine choice. If you prefer a lot of heavy or larger sized- baubles then you may want to consider your options. Cost: The Noble will run similar in price to the Frasier.

Douglas Fir: The Douglas is considered by many as the ‘Classic’ Christmas tree. They appear to have a more airy open structure with longer, softer needles and are bright green in color. The Douglas has a great scent which I explain as citrusy with a mix of pine. This is the fastest-growing of the Christmas tree varieties; therefore, the most available and most affordable.  Cost: Depending on the retailer, you may find this type of tree listed for half the cost of a Frasier or Noble.

If you purchase a pre-cut tree, it is important to decide if you want a “fresh cut” at the time you buy it, if you are planning to submerge your tree in water that day then your answer is yes.  A fresh cut is when they take a sliver off the bottom of the trunk to allow the tree to absorb water.  A fresh cut is necessary upon putting up your tree in water in order for the tree to best be able to absorb water. This will greatly prolong the trees vibrant appearance.  You will also wantto remember to water the tree twice daily. You will be surprised by how much the trees “drink”. After a few weeks the tree’s water demands will decrease and you will be able to water it less.

My next suggestion is my favorite of all for holiday decorating. While you are waiting for your tree to be cut, baled and tied up, don’t forget to take a look around. Most nurseries and retailers will have a bin of branches that have been trimmed from the trees. This is a great way to score greens for your mantle or wreath for free! Grab a bunch of those trimmings and you can create make additional holiday decor like wreaths or garland. If you have enough trimmings, all you need is some floral wire or a wire wreath frame that you can get from a craft store and whatever additional ‘flare’ you want to add. In addition to scoring branches for wreaths, keep your eye open for trimmings that may work well incorporated into centerpieces or mantle décor. I suggest mixing these with poinsettias, pine-cones, and winter berries for a really natural (and inexpensive) look. It can be tempting to rush out and get your tree early, but waiting until the week before Christmas will score you some price cuts. On the other hand, if you are most interested in getting the ‘perfect’ tree with lots of selection then getting in the game and buying your tree the weekend after Thanksgiving is recommended.

There are tons of other non-Fir options for holiday decorating including Spruces, Pines and Cypress, which are all beautiful in their own right, but I will have to save for another blog .I hope this simple Christmas Tree Guide is helpful for you in making your selection. No matter which tree variety you choose, I’m sure your tree will be perfect for your family and will set the tone for tons of holiday cheer!

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